I’ve often heard the claim that libertarians can’t be racist because they believe in individualism instead of collectivism, or something like that.
You know what? I call bullshit.
Racism can be done on a collective level, as well as an individual level. A form of collective racism would be state segregation laws. A form of individual racism would be not interacting with someone because of their skin colour.
It would also happen in a libertarian society, where people would be free to interact or not interact with whom they please, including people of colour.
Of course, instituting the state to deal with issues of racism creates far worse problems, as it leads to collective racism in the form of systemic discrimination.
Racism isn’t an issue for states to deal with, but for societies, and people on a micro level. Passing it off to benevolent overlords doesn’t solve the problems, it only widens them, and creates new ones.
While I agree that it is possible for a libertarian to be racist, the point usually being made is that racism itself is a collectivist idea in that it views people as parts of a group instead of as individuals. Therefore, an individualist libertarian who disparages and mistreats a person because of the group she belongs to is not being consistent with his libertarian ideals. This is not unlike the ostensibly devout religious person who nonetheless violates the teachings of his faith and eats a forbidden meat, or commits adultery or theft or murder.
And while it’s true that one’s freedom to associate means that he or she may choose to not associate with anyone he or she chooses (even for reasons as ridiculous as skin color), in a libertarian “society,” racists would not be protected from the natural costs and consequences of their behavior.
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- conza said: True, although I think it’s last on my list of myths to clear up lol. Private property implies the ‘right’ to set rules that involve exclusion for whatever reason. Those choices obviously have costs as you know :).
- tjslater said: Agreed, it’s a copout. Though I don’t recall ever meeting a racist libertarian. That’s strictly anecdotal, of course.
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